The 57 Bus

by | Read by Robin Miles

Published by Recorded Books

This riveting nonfiction book for teens about race, class, gender, crime, and punishment tells the true story of an agender teen who was set on fire by another teen while riding a bus in Oakland, California. One teenager in a skirt. One teenager with a lighter. One moment that changes both of their lives forever. If it weren't for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.

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AudioFile Review

The 57 Bus

Robin Miles provides a solid narration for investigative journalist Dashka Slater's balanced account of the traumatic intersection of two Oakland teens' lives. This is a work of nonfiction in which many individuals are presented, both as Slater observes and analyzes them and through their interview responses. Since Slater includes the personal expressive styles of the responders without quoting them verbatim, Miles must be careful to render the variety of perspectives without imbuing each with a voicing that weakens this accuracy in favor of dramatization. She succeeds in maintaining an even tone, for the most part, while pacing the performance so that listeners can follow this nuanced account of how differences in race, gender expression, and access to support shaped the two teens. F.M.R.G. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine

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